WASHINGTON: Google and Facebook, two of the world’s biggest internet companies, will closely look at the fake news sites’ revenue sources after criticism such websites may have impacted the recent presidential polls that ended with a shock victory for Republican Donald Trump.
According to a report, the two companies this week made it clear that it would ban such news websites which put out fake news from using its online advertising service. Facebook said it would disallow ads on its website by those showing “misleading or illegal content”.
Trump defied all polls and predictions to inflict a surprising defeat on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, who led almost every polls and forecasts.
“We have updated the policy to explicitly clarify that this applies to fake news,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement as quoted by the media report. “Our team will continue to closely vet all prospective publishers and monitor existing ones to ensure compliance.”
According to the report, Facebook has been at the center of that debate as some accused the company of swinging some voters “in favor of President-elect Donald J. Trump through misleading and outright wrong stories that spread quickly via the social network.”
“One such false story claimed that Pope Francis had endorsed Mr. Trump,” the report said.
Google was also accused of giving too much prominence to false news stories. In once such instance, the top results on a Google search for “final election vote count 2016” was a link to a story on a website called 70News that wrongly stated that Mr. Trump was ahead of Clinton in the popular vote. Clinton got the most popular vote, though Trump won the election by winning the Electoral College.
“Facebook’s policy update will not stem the flow of fake news stories that spread through the news feeds that people see when they visit the social network,” the report said, adding that a Pew Research Center study said that nearly half of American adults rely on Facebook as a news source.
“It remains to be seen how effective Google’s new policy on fake news will be in practice. The policy will rely on a combination of automated and human reviews to help determine what is fake,” the report added